Indiana Daily Student

Eating local

It’s hard to be a small business, even in a place like Bloomington. But we could help change that.

This town loves its ?local food.

We’ve got a great farmer’s market, an abundance of ethnic restaurants and several local grocery stores.

But it can still be a challenge to compete against the big guys.

Workers at the local grocery store Bloomingfoods are currently trying to unionize.

They said they’re doing so to “make Bloomingfoods an even better place to work and shop.”

No matter what you think of the situation, it shows how difficult it can be to operate on a small, local scale when you’re up against those with more power and resources.

Places like Bloomingfoods have to compete with companies like Kroger and Marsh.

Bloomingfoods is beloved for its healthy, organic products and its cheap salads and snacks, which are always better for you than a quick trip to a vending machine in Ballantine.

Now, though, big chain grocery stores are moving into sectors such as health foods and organic produce, and local stores can’t match their prices for a lot of items.

Kroger has got a whole section dedicated to lines of organic food, sold much more cheaply than in Bloomingfoods.

Local stores also have to compete with trendier chains. How do you think local stores feel about Whole Foods coming to town?

I’ll admit, I like eating locally, but it’s hard as a college student.

I live a couple of blocks away from Bloomingfoods, but I still do a lot of my shopping at the big chains.

I just won’t buy a $7 gallon of milk at this point in my life. I’m not willing to spend my ?money that way.

But local businesses are important. They support the residents who work there.

They maintain competition in the market. They bring the community closer.

And maybe we can keep them alive.

Data show the millennial generation is done with casual dining. No one our age wants to go to Chili’s or Olive Garden anymore.

While we’re eating more at fast, casual dining places such as Chipotle or Panera, fast food has also lost millennial business.

It’s clear we can make a difference in the foods we eat and the businesses we frequent. But it has to be a focused effort.

We need to spend our money in responsible ways.

We need to figure out what we care about and support the businesses that care too.

If we don’t, no one will.

We can be a generation that stands up for bigger causes, that breaks the stranglehold huge corporations have on our lives.

We can keep local stores like Bloomingfoods vibrant.

But we have to eat local like we mean it.

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